"Russia is fifty or a hundred years behind the advanced countries. We must make good this distance in ten years. Either we do it, or they will crush us." -- Joseph Stalin, Feb 1931
The end of the 2005 campaign was a time of reckoning for Giants fans. The beginning of the end, so to speak. With the careers of Bonds winding down, Jason Schmidt's impending free agency, a bullpen that features Tyler Walker, Jake Taschner the immortal Armando Benitez, and a roster full of aging stars, a depleted farm system, and no picks in the first 3 rounds of the draft, the San Francisco Giants was at a cross road. The organization needed a change in direction after years of roster filling to compliment Bonds. They needed a front office that can put together a 5 year plan that leads this team to the holy grail.
They need a team that can put together a plan like this
Year 1 -- Get younger in the rotation, make a splash in the Latin America market and acquire a high ceiling future superstar type player. Signability be damned, go after the best upside available in the draft. Break the record in both Rule 4 draft and amateur signing bonuses paid. Go after bullpen arms. Go after starting pitching. Go after any pitching. Pitching and defense wins games, and we have neither right now.
Year 2 -- Continue to get younger in the rotation. Draft high upside impact starters that will sustain the franchise. Make a splash in free agency. Let Jason Schmidt walk and sign a low injury risk front end of the rotation starter. Continue to fill up the roster with future back end of rotation and strong bullpen arms. Get high upside athletes with tools. Pitching, pitching, pitching.
Year 3 -- Midway point. We need players that can be put on the fast track and make it to the bigs to coincide with the high upside, younger players signed in the last 2 years. Focus on solid players that can contribute quickly. Get a franchise type bat, solid major league contributors, and projectable college bats. Continue the onslaught of Latin America scouting and make another splash for high upside athletes. Do not forget about defense. Find the best quality bat that can play defense in the outfield. Year three is the transition point of the 5 year plan. The team should now be in rebound mode and fans need to see some results on the field, regardless of the projection in the minors. Shore up the bullpen. Bring up kids that has shown potential in the last couple of years and let them play. Figure out the pieces that you have going into year 4.
Year 4 -- The year before serious contention. The fruits of the first three years should begin to manifest itself as the team gets substantially younger. Don't spend foolishly in the free agent market. Focus on what has been done in the last 3 years. Continue to draft pitching and focus on organization needs in the future. Get corner infield / coner outfield type bats so you don't have to pay through the nose for them in free agency. Continue to shore up the bullpen and focus on bringing the team together for the year 5 playoff run. Stock up on pitching and don't rush the kids. This is a 5 year plan, not a 3 year plan. Look around. Kick some tires.
Year 5 -- The year it all comes together. Now is the time to start a new 5 year plan. Look at the pieces that is available at our disposal. You can't keep all the talent as free agency approaches. A couple of trades will need to happen. Get high picks and high upside players that can lead into the next 5 year plan and try not to get too attached to the players you have developed in the last plan. We will need pieces to win NOW, but we want to keep winning for years to come, and if there is a surplus in pitching that we can use to get 3-4 pieces for the next 5 year plan, we have to look at it. Kick more tires. Learn from year 1-2 of this plan, we can't be stuck in that rebuilding mode again. Keep drafting pitching. Never ignore the bullpen.
If only we have a front office that has the vision and can execute something like this.